A good mentor can help students define their career goals and provide an increased sense of professional accountability and responsibility. In today’s tough job market, advice from a seasoned professional can be the difference in hearing those two important words, “you’re hired.”

The West Virginia University Department of Communication Studies will unveil its newly formed Student-Alumni Mentoring Program this month with its first ever Speed Networking Event on Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. in the Gold Ballroom of the Mountainlair. Groups of students will be assigned a table for a ten-minute Q & A session with alumni about future career paths. Like speed dating, a bell will ring and students will rotate to another table to meet with different alumni. Alumni mentors have careers in event planning, project management, business management, public relations, human resources and more. Students will have the opportunity to network and gain information about the endless career possibilities available to communication studies graduates.

“This is a great opportunity for students to pose real-life questions and concerns to alumni who have been where they are now,” said Andrea Weber, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication studies and the department’s undergraduate curriculum coordinator. “Close to 20 alumni have volunteered to host tables and discuss their career paths.”

“The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ 2020 Strategic Plan has a commitment to enriching undergraduate education, with a specific emphasis on helping students understand the connection between their ongoing college experiences and their post-graduation life,” Weber said. “We have always connected students with our alumni but we wanted to formalize the process to address the college’s goals and really tap into the expertise of our successful alumni.”

Currently the Department has 70 mentors involved in the program, all of whom received either their undergraduate or master’s degrees in communication studies. Weber hopes that over time the number of students and the number of mentors will grow.

“My favorite thing to talk to students about is the interview process,” said Mark Carretta, alumnus and new program mentor. “I know that when I first graduated there were some jobs that I knew that I could do but may have been a little nervous at first when interviewing for the positions. After recruiting for close to five years, I can convey my experiences to students and help them get over some of the initial nerves that come with first interviews.”

The mentoring program will continue to host alumni panels and guest speakers during major university events, like homecoming and parent’s weekends.

“The goal is to help our students bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world experience and to give them a leg up in their job searches,” Weber said.

Department of Communication Studies alumni who are interested in becoming mentors in the program should submit a mentoring application.

For more information, contact Andrea Weber, at 304-293-3905 or Andrea.Weber@mail.wvu.edu



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